Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Inhambane, Mozambique

Be WARNED. This will be the longest post in the history of this blog. The story of my family’s life and holidays goes like this:

Our holidays are impromptu to start with. Totally spontaneous and never planned to the t. No accommodation, especially when we go to the unpopular destinations. Our destination last weekend was Mozambique, Inhambane. We heard of the great beaches and tourist destinations in Inhambane and Tofo beach in particular. And finally we managed to make our way there with a bag and a camera an excited daughter with being in the car and a nagging son who keeps asking how far the destination is.

Restaurant in Maputo, Mozambique

Driving from Maputo after 12 noon, we pass Mr V’s favourite destination in Mozambique, Marracuene. Besides the fact that Ponta da Macaneta beach is great, I think he loves the fact that it’s very close to Maputo, making it very close to South Africa. Ok back to the Inhambane holiday. We now approach my favourite province in Mozambique, Gaza. I love the beaches in Bilene and especially in Xai-Xai.
Macaneta beach, Marracuene, Mozambique

We drove through Gaza province and loads of potholes and road works later we found ourselves in Manjacaze town. We had to make a deal with ourselves and the two little people who have gone through a few cartoon movies already by now as it was already getting late. When the sun sets, we are sleeping in the nearest hotel. It doesn’t matter what town we find ourselves in. And indeed the sun set at 6pm and we were in Quissico, the first town in Inhambane province. What a bad deal we made. I would never be desperate enough to sleep in Quissico’s local hotel, nor in the following town of Inharrime.

Potholes we passed in Gaza. Get a 4x4 please.

At this point, we decided to pass through to Inhambane and we were starting to panic as it was getting darker and darker. We’ve never set our feet here but the roads in this province are much better than the patch we have passed. We drove on and reached Inhambane after 8:30pm. You can smell the jolly African vibe in this country. Everyone is in the streets, street vendors still operating. But the first guest house we drive to is sleepy.
Bridge across Limpopo River in Gaza Province

After approaching a few helpful locals, we were given the direction to the beach. There has to be nice hotels by the beach right? Our strategy is to only approach the hotels with professionally looking adverts. If they have marketing budget, they have to be comfortable. The only hotel advert we saw was fully booked. And that was about the only call we could make. We forgot about the telecommunication challenges, DARN.
Our Cottage in Palm Grove Lodge, Barra Beach

At this point we are left with one option, driving through to the beach, following the boards advertising one resort. And before we knew it, after driving over unexpected humps and flying with the car such that my son thought we are crash landing in a space ship, we were about to pass the Palm Grove Lodge. So we left the path to the resort and got into the lodge.
Please remember Mosquito repellents.

Mozambican style reed built cottages meant for groups of people look nice and traditional but Mr V is not impressed. The owners are very friendly and they happily changed the first cottage we were not happy with, hung a mosquito net over my daughter’s mattress and brought us the yummy supper we ordered from the restaurant. We had the dinner in the patio listening to the roaring Barra beach. A beautiful sound that took us through the night. Pity we had a few mosquitoes locked inside our mosquito net. Bad mistake.
Restaurant in Palm Grove Lodge, Barra Beach

We woke up and headed straight to where the sound was coming from. A few steps from the cottage is the restaurant at the foot of Praia da Barra or Barra Beach in simple English. My goodness, this is what I saw outside the window:
Boring food boys ordered in Palm Grove.

As we were busy ordering, a group of Joburg tourists passed by the window in such style:

Horse Riding in Barra Beach, Inhambane Mozambique

We couldn’t order fast enough to go for a quick swim with my son. Ultimately we were in the water waiting for our meal and Mr V, his daughter and his book could see us through the window. And before long he called us ac coffee was ready. I’ve never wished for a slow restaurant service like that. Well we got in, had breakfast fast enough to get back to the water.

We dark browned our bodies in the sun, jumped in the trampoline. Took shots of the cottages with views to die for:
Barra Beach, Inhambane Mozambique

At this point I told Lukas, the owner that “I want to live like this forever”. And he told me they actually work all the time and forget that the place is so breath taking. Guess we never win.

Time to check out. We wouldn’t sleep there for another night. Knowing where we were going to sleep that early would spoil the fun. And so we checked out, and drove towards Praia do Tofo (Tofo Beach). Everyone we know who knows Tofo had only the best news to tell us. And now, finally we will be there. All we think about is getting a comfortable hotel. Our plans to go camping anytime soon, ANNULLED at this point.

Tofo Beach, Inhambane Mozambique

Remember the hotel that was fully booked last night? It had space today and I thought trying to call it wouldn’t kill. We got the room, first floor, facing the great beach, WOW. Click-Click goes my camera through the window.

Generous portions of prawns are a signature meal of Mozambique. Serves me well.

Off to Art and Craft shopping in the market. There goes my R2000+ on over-priced crafts in Mozambique standards. But really I didn’t have to buy staff taken from Maputo, meant for South African tourists, but I did.

Tofo Art and Craft Market

By the way 5 in every 6 cars we saw in Inhambane was South African and most likely GP. Mr V had a great jog by the Tofo beach in the afternoon. In a while my son was crying that daddy was gone for too long. I think he has a phobia of losing his parents. It happens often. Watching all those shapes and sizes of people in swimming costumes made me feel much better about my own body insecurities. No more Dr90210.

We had an early night only to wake up to this:

Sun Rising in Tofo Beach,InhambaneMozambique

But no water to take a bath. We are driving back home. I am not obsessed with taking a bath/shower but I needed a good one because of the heat. Anyway, after a really sad breakfast we were on our way to Inhambane city and same route back. As you already know by now, I have to take at least one of these pictures per trip:

And a bonus picture:

My son loves horses and was convinced this is a pony. I also saw a donkey for the first time when I was an adult already. So that can be expected. Had a meal in the Motel in Xai-xai, and were set to drive straight to Maputo without stopping. Except for the mandatory stop to buy locally moulded clay pots in towns by the road.

I had to let down a friend who wanted us to pass by her resort in Marracuene. My kids were just too tired. Driving through 3 provinces twice in one weekend is more than strenuous. What did you do for the Easter weekend?


Love the pictures! Hubby and I also like to travel without everything set in stone, but since the twins arrived we don't do that anymore. We've learned our lesson looking for a place to stay at 6PM with two screaming babies in the car more than once. When they are older I think we will travel more like we use to.

I can imagine. But I want a set of twins of my own. Why cant I just get that. Even after 2 kids I still want my set. My mom has her set and so do her sisters. But me and my siblings have none.

Enjoy your day.

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